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Lesson 29 How to use adjective clause (using a sub sentence as adjective) in Chinese?

Posted by Grace Feng on January 30, 2013

L29 How to use adjective clause (using a sub sentence as adjective) in Chinese?When we come to learn the equivalent usage of adjective clause (形容词从句 xíngróngcí cóngjù) in Chinese, we’ll see big difference between English and Chinese. In this Learn Chinese Online lesson, I’d like to start with an example like this (I’m trying to avoid using too many grammar terminologies in my explanation so that readers that are not familiar with those terminologies can also understand easily):

She is the one who taught me Chinese.

If we try to translate this sentence into Chinese literally, the sentence will sound awkward and incorrect:

她是那个人谁教我中文。

Then what is the right way to express this sentence in Chinese? We’ll get to that soon after a quick review of a few new words (please use the estroke tool under the new word table to practice your writing):

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
小云 小雲 xiao3 yun2 name of a girl
xiang3 to think; to want
bu4 classifier for works of literature, films, machines etc;
电影 電影 dian4 ying3 movie; film
  • You can copy and paste a few characters together into the box. They’ll show in the animation window one by one.
  • Once the stroke animation stops, click in the animation window and hit ENTER to replay it.
  • You can use the sliding bar to control writing speed of the animation.

The most difficult part of the translation is how to convert the adjective clause: “who taught me Chinese“, the sub sentence that is used as an adjective of “the one“. Where should we place this sentence in Chinese then?

Well, the answer is actually not tricky at all: just get rid of “who“, then place it right before “the one“, then add a “” after that adjective clause, done. Like this:

She is + taught me Chinese + 的 + the one.

Red-write it in Chinese:

她是 + 教我中文 + 的 + 那个人。

 

她是教我中文的那个人。

tā shì jiāo wǒ Zhōngwén de nàgèrén。

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Let’s try to apply this rule to another example:

 

He didn’t like the book that his friend gave him.

that his friend gave him” is the adjective clause that describes “the book“.

After the rule is applied, the sentence should look like this:

He didn’t like + his friend gave him + 的 + book.

To re-write in Chinese, it becomes:

他不喜欢他的朋友给他的那本书。

tā bù xǐhuan tā de péngyou gěi tā de nà běn shū。

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Do you get it?

In the following two examples, adjective clause is used and highlighted in the sentence. Could you please translate them into English and compare how the adjective clause is used between these two languages? You can check your translation against the answers at the bottom of the post.

 

a.  小云和来看她的人是好朋友.

xiǎo Yúnhé láikàn tā de rén shì hǎopéngyou.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

b. 弟弟想看昨天姐姐看过的那部电影.

dìdi xiǎng kàn zuótiān jiějie kàn guò de nà bù diànyǐng.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Are you clear on how to use adjective clause in Chinese now? If yes, please go ahead and express the following two sentences in Chinese as your practice. Feel free to leave your answers in the comment area, then I can check them for you.

Practice 1.   Mom likes the book that I wrote.

Practice 2.   He is the boy who studies Chinese.

 

 

 

 

[Answer for Chinese to English translation practice:

a. Xiao Yun and the one who visited her were good friends.

b. He wanted to watch the movie that his sister had watched yesterday.]

 

Related posts:

Lesson 7 Focus on Chinese sentence patterns first or Chinese vocabulary first?
Lesson 8 How to use adjectives in Chinese (1)
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 8

 

Category: JLC Chinese grammar lessons

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7 Responses to “Lesson 29 How to use adjective clause (using a sub sentence as adjective) in Chinese?”

  1. nothing

    Bianca:

    03-31-2013 11:08 am

    您好!
    1。Mom likes the book that i wrote.
    妈妈喜欢我写了的那本书。
    2。He is the boy who studies chinese.
    她是学习汉语的男孩儿。

    我对吗?谢谢!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-31-2013 1:43 pm

      Bianca, 您好!

      “妈妈喜欢我写了的那本书.” – the only minor issue with this sentence is the use of “了”. Taking the “了” out and then it’s perfect:

      妈妈喜欢我写的那本书.

      “她是学习汉语的男孩儿。” – this one is 100% correct!

      Good job, Bianca!

      继续努力吧 :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  2. nothing

    kaviche:

    04-01-2013 5:40 am

    我注意到,你 “那” 的 发音 是 ne 的更加附近 代替 na…这跟你的口音 有关系?

    Reply

  3. nothing

    kaviche:

    04-01-2013 5:42 am

    i mean to say that your “那” sounds more like “ne” than “na”..has it to do with your accent ?…plz also tell me if my chinese counterpart of this question is correct or not

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      04-01-2013 1:34 pm

      kaviche, if you listen carefully to another audio in Chinese, anyone you can grab from youtube, you’ll notice “那” in oral Chinese is quite often pronounced as “nei”, instead of “na”. It’s nothing to do with accent.

      I’m very glad you distinguished the difference from my recording. Just like in English or any other languages, the same word might pronounced slightly different when being spoken individually or in a sentence. “那” is a very good example. :-)

      Reply

  4. nothing

    Beatrice:

    10-30-2013 5:03 pm

    您好!
    这个课很有用因为我觉得 “的 句子” 成翻译得比较难.

    1.妈妈喜欢我写过的书。

    2. 他是学习汉语的小伙子。

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      10-31-2013 3:46 am

      1.妈妈喜欢我写过的书。 – perfect!!

      2. 他是学习汉语的小伙子。 – perfect!!

      Well done, Beatrice!

      Reply

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